Educational engagement and the environment: Investigating service learning in the nonhuman sciences

ECU Author/Contributor (non-ECU co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Taylor G. Abernethy (Creator)
East Carolina University (ECU )
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Abstract: Classic definitions outline service learning as engaging students in experiential education where learning goals are reached when service activities are combined with reflective assignments. In an effort to integrate education with volunteerism, service learning allows students to enhance their coursework with field experience and activism that succeeds in helping provide assistance to a community, environmental, or global problem. Service learning is a flexible concept that can be molded to fit many educational disciplines and curricula. It can be expanded to encompass an entire course or narrowed to a project or requirement within a course restricted by a curriculum. At many schools, and especially at East Carolina University, there are many service learning courses and opportunities. Most, however, occur in the health and human sciences; opportunities in the areas of environmental and earth sciences are more limited. Most higher education institutions, even those in urban settings, are surrounded by biota and conservation issues that can serve as appropriate outlets for environmental service learning. Some schools have incorporated direct service programs such as planting trees and implementing recycling plans. Others have taken material learned in the classroom and developed lesson plans that were taught in K-12 schools. As the world's environmental needs continue to magnify along with its population, there will be an increased necessity for attention to natural resources and nonhuman inhabitants. Conditions for connecting humans to the environment are all around. Crafting the right combination of service project with instruction and education can be the corridor for bringing humans and the environment together.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2014
Science education, Environmental education, Environmental service learning, Experiential education

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